Inviting the town porter to your house every other Tuesday evening for drinks makes your home neither a porterhouse nor even a porter abode. Today’s Groupon will spare you any further awkward conversations about "what's the craziest thing you ever ported." For $15, you get $30 worth of hearty meals and West Coast ales at Porterhouse in West Seattle.
A glowing, crimson wall accentuates the industrial-chic interior of the Vessel, casting a rosy sheen across the abundant chrome finishes. The bar is rather simple in design—long, wooden, and abutted by plain black stools—yet the mixing that goes on behind it is as elaborate as a teenager’s explanation for missing curfew. A rotating staff of 25 bartenders, in addition to frequent guest mixologists, carefully shake and stir their inspired cocktails, dreaming up a new menu each night. Starting at lunch and continuing until as late as 11 p.m., culinary artists are also at work in the kitchen, churning out elevated bar fare such as foie gras–buttered popcorn and their Old Fashioned sundaes, made with Angostura ice cream, candied orange, and whiskey caramel.
Belltown Billiards stepped up the nightlife game by blending a pool hall with a sleek, modern lounge. Stripes and solids roll atop eight custom-designed Brunswick pool tables, above which curved, industrial-style awnings arc like wings. Nearby, black leather couches in the lounge give onlookers a comfortable spot to watch games or the cue-twirling victory dances that follow them. Bartenders also pour out a selection of beers, cocktails, and wines from a neon-lit bar.
The onsite kitchen, helmed by a professional chef, makes Mediterranean-inspired entrees with fresh, local ingredients from nearby Pike Place Market. Small groups can order apps such as bruschetta or pork sliders from the à la carte regular menu. Thin-crust pizzas and buffet-style meals from the large-party menu cater to crews of up to 400. Belltown Billiards also hosts regular public events, and DJs spin dance beats every night.
It's not surprising that Tia Lou snagged the award for Best Rooftop at DList Magazine's 2013 Seattle Nightlife Awards. The large outdoor space, complete with its own bar, is washed in pretty blue light, which gives way to the amber beams radiating out of private curtained cabanas. Inside each cabana is cushioned furniture, which surrounds a rattan table filled with bottle service paraphernalia.
This modern vibe also permeates Tia Lou's indoor areas, where tufted leather booths soften an industrial space framed in exposed-brick walls and cement floors. An upper level looks out over the dance floor, where revelers, go-go dancers, and prom queens cursed by a witch's spell groove nonstop under colorful lights to a live DJ set.
Though it began as a rock-only bar, Juju has since evolved into a hot spot for diverse music. Thursday through Saturday, DJs spin tunes ranging from punk and rockabilly to old-school hip-hop and Shakespearean sonnet rap. That sonic eclecticism fills the intimate facility, where a combination of crystal chandeliers, candlelight, and blown-glass flames illumine the bar. Graffiti art and paintings of famous mug shots adorn the walls, and images from the in-house photo booth decorate the bar. Though Juju has plenty going on, the Alley Burger & Chili Trailer, located at the back of the upscale dive bar, keeps things simple with meatless patties or Painted Hills natural beef topped with ingredients such as local and sustainable produce, hand-crafted blue cheese from Rogue Creamery, and Tillamook cheddar.
Clever Bottle's mixologists and charcuterie chefs source local gourmet ingredients from Pike Place Market for a menu of appetizers, libations, and desserts. Crafted in-house, a selection of bitters house-made with bluebell flowers, chocolate, and the personality of sunshine adds spice to the ever-shifting menu of cocktails. The wine list, which is made up of 98% Seattle varietals, serves as a flavorful guide to the many local wineries that populate it. Abundant candlelight sets a romantic tone for quiet dates or proposals that involve serenading a sweetheart with a champagne flute.